Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Attachment and Meditation


Attachment and Meditation

Martin LeFevre

*******

Meditation cannot truly begin until the mind/brain lets go of everything. No trick or technique can cause it to do so. Only undivided observation loosens the bonds and ends the grooves of thought.

Why is it so difficult to let go? What is it about the human mind that keeps us attached to beliefs, people, and problems? It appears as though the brain, using thought, is almost wired to attach itself to things. Obviously attachment is a function of the self. As long as there is the emotionally held idea of a separate self, there will be attachment with all its problems.

At bottom, there is a seemingly separate self that experiences things as happening to it. Experience isn’t perceived as an unbroken flow of inner and outer movement. Rather, we experience things from a center that is more or less fixed, a center that interprets, judges, evaluates, and then acts. But in actuality, is there a separate entity that stands apart from anything?

If there is no sense of self, there is no basis for attachment. Therefore attachment is a function of the ‘me,’ the ego, the self at the center of our experience.

The expression, ‘my thoughts’ is not merely redundant; it is existentially and neurologically erroneous. And yet the ‘me’ seems to have tremendous validity. Why does the brain, using thought, fabricate a separate self, and hold onto it for dear life, when a separate self doesn’t actually exist?

There are at least two possibilities. One is that, in the absence of insight into the nature of thought, the mechanism of a separate self appears to be necessary to bring some semblance of order and stability to the chaos of thought. In other words, the brain stores experience, and a program called ‘me’ makes sense of all the information.

Another possibility is that as humans evolved conscious thought, the survival mechanism became deeply linked to concepts of identity. Instead of realizing that ‘I am my thoughts,’ and ‘thought is not actuality,’ there was the subconscious and emotionally held idea that ‘I am not my thoughts, but a separate and permanent entity.’

From this psychological basis, the idea of permanence, and the fear of death, are inevitable. Separate selfhood, survival, attachment, permanence, and fear of death got mixed up together, and formed the psychological basis of humanness.

But thought-dominated consciousness has become utterly dysfunctional, both individually and collectively. Authentic meditation ushers in another type of consciousness altogether.

To awaken meditation, one has to begin with division in observation. That is, with negating the illusory observer or watcher. If one doesn’t think in terms of ‘my mind’ (which reinforces division in observation) one begins to observe the movement of thought as it is —as a single movement of nearly nonstop associations.

Thought is a single stream, which habitually tends to separate itself from nature, the world, and itself. Sitting quietly and still, ask oneself, ‘is the observer operating?’ In doing so, in passively watching the mind divide itself from itself, one brings attention to the infinite regression of psychological separation, and it ceases. When the habit and sense of separateness ends, thought naturally falls silent. That is meditation.

It’s near dusk, and the parkland is teeming with Cooper’s hawks. A large, brown, stipple-winged hawk takes off from the path ahead of me with some small animal in its mouth.

Another, perched on a branch overhanging the park road, drops from the limb and screeches incessantly as it glides in a straight, level flight path down the road. A few minutes later, a couple walking ahead of me stop and turn around to watch a raptor alight high in a sycamore tree.

For the last 20 minutes of a sitting by the stream, a gray squirrel chatters away in a tree behind me. It occurs to me that consciousness is like that squirrel prattling on, impervious to awareness.

As if to confirm that insight, a hundred meters up the path I pass two college-age couples talking non-stop as they imbibe at a picnic site adjacent to the footbridge. In the time it takes me to go by, one of the young women changes subjects about shopping three times, without appearing to take a breath.

Then, to complete the comic play of the chattering squirrel and girl, four small boys on bikes go by, two of them still in training wheels. They shout and make meaningless verbal noises without pause, and seemingly without point, the way little boys do. Their non-stop sound effects serve a purpose however. To their minds, any silence breaks the bond between them.

Being creatures of thought, we fear any break in thought, because thought provides the basis and bonds of our lives. It’s not only a baseless fear however; it’s an increasingly catastrophic one. Is transformation is in the air?


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Scoop Is Crowd Funding: Help Scoop.co.nz To Fly In 2015

Scoop is NZ's oldest and largest independent online news service. We have described ourselves as fiercely independent for more than a decade and we would like to stay that way... By making Scoop’s connection to the public and contributors more explicit we hope to achieve the level of support and sustainability that will enable Scoop to fly as a community asset. More>>

ALSO:

Greek Riddles: Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth? More>>

ALSO:

McBeth On The Cricket World Cup: It's How They Handle Fan Pressure

Brendon McCullum's team has achieved impressive results in the lengthy buildup to the contest and they deserve to be among the favoured teams, but... Their results need to be kept in perspective and fans should get a much better idea of the Black Caps chances when they face England in the capital on Friday. More>>

Keith Rankin: Contribution Through Innovation

The economic contribution of businesses and people is often quite unrelated to their taxable incomes. EHome, as a relatively new company, may have never earned any taxable income. Its successors almost certainly will earn income and pay tax. Yet it was eHome itself who made the biggest contribution by starting the venture in the first place. More>>

ALSO:

A Public Conversation: Reinventing News As A Public Right

Alastair Thompson: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once journalism was possibly a noble profession, though that is certainly now, to quote our Prime Minister, a 'contestable' notion. It certainly seemed at least a little noble when I joined the ranks of reporters in 1989 . But ... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news